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November, 2001

November Edition

First let me go on record as saying that this month's papers up here were awash with reports of single vehicle accidents, drunk drivers and domestic dust-ups of the most Ozarkian kind. Such is life...

The Muskoka Welcome Wagon seems to run in reverse - a cottage being built on an island in Lake Joseph was visited by welcomers unknown who relieved the building of furniture, major appliances and construction tools. Police suspect the theives might have had a barge. Ya figure?

The bandstand in Memorial Park is going to get the attention it deserves next spring. Look for the place to have a new roof, new roof supports, and a coat of paint. Local taggers will take over after that to add that 'urban abused' look we all crave so much.

The pool at the Centennial Centre sucks once again, but I mean that in a good way. For a while there the suction line for the filter didn't work due to a two foot crack in one of the pipes. Ain't it always the way - said pipe was buried under four feet of concrete. Bracebridge's version of The Big Dig is over.

An expensive mountain bike was recently liberated from the back of a pickup truck parked in downtown Bracebridge one evening. It was described in the paper as "a metallic-orange GT-Zasker" but if I were you, I'd be looking for something painted primer red. Recently.

Bracebridge is going 8 lane! But before you start dreaming of unobstructed access down Highway 11 check the fine print - the plans for the pool at the soon-to-be-constructed Centennial Centre Part II feature eight swim lanes. Apparently this is a lot.

Speaking of new and improved, Huntsville developer Claude Doughty of Claudex, Inc. (gotta love that name) has big plans for the Hwy. 60 area of Huntsville. He wants to build an industrial/ commercial/ residential complex north of Hanes Road but assured Town council members, "This will be no Orillia." Point taken.

November 5 - 17 is deer season in Muskoka. If you're a hunter you already know that. If you're a hiker you'd better be aware of that. Unless it's Sunday - I'm told that it's illegal to discharge a firearm on a Sunday 'round here. Speaking of shooting things, moose season seemed to go pretty well this year with only 13 unauthorized moose kills reported. Interestingly, moose meat from unauthorized kills goes to local food banks and the Shriners Club. Which has got to leave you wondering: how do those fez-wearin' nutbars carry home a side of moose in one of those tiny little cars?

No Longer Serving Breakfast Part I: Bracebridge's Old Station Restaurant is closed for renovations - until March! I'm not sure what the plans are but with that kind of time I'm thinking something Sistene Chapel-ish.

No Longer Serving Breakfast Part II: Those of you who used to stop at The Grand Restaurant on Hwy 11 just south of Gravenhurst will have to find a new watering hole - the place was leveled in an early morning explosion that left everything from the foundation up scattered over the not-so-nearby landscape. Amazingly enough the family dog, chained to his doghouse mere feet from Ground Zero, survived the blast with only minor injuries. Police suspect a propane leak. Accidental or otherwise.

Speaking of buildings that used to be, my favorite old Bracebridge house is now just a memory - somebody torched the abandoned farmhouse at the corner of Wellington Street and Santa's Village Road. It must have been a beautiful place at some point in its life but had been abandoned for years and abused by every petty vandal in town. I was always of the opinion that it deserved to be restored but that would have taken pockets deeper than mine.

Bracebridge continues to be a fierce battleground in the Smoking Wars as council debates what our smoking bylaw should look like (as in with or without teeth). Speaking of the toothless, the seniors' center in Kearney is looking for a special exemption from their smokeless status over the winter. There are worries about seniors literally slipping out for a smoke and ending up with broken hips and frostbite.

Bracebridge Muskoka Lakes Secondary School is getting a $4.1 million facelift! Hopefully they'll do something about that tired look around the eyes.

The expansion project at the District Municipality of Muskoka offices on Pine Street is good to go. Meanwhile the cost of the project has been revised to a low low price of only $5,824,943 - that's almost four hundred grand off the regular price. But that's only if we call within the next thirty minutes and ask for Operator #47.

The Province of Ontario has finally officially recognized the important role that hunters and anglers play in wildlife conservation with the Heritage Hunting and Fishing Act. After all, when various species end up extinct we're going to thank those guys for all the museum-ready stuffed and mounted displays!

The Bracebridge Public Works Committee decided to hold off on installing security cameras in Memorial Park - ten to twelve grand seemed a bit steep to deter petty vandals. A local paper even weighed in with worries about Big Brothers' Eye-In-The-Sky. But hey guys, why don't you just give the folks at Micro Age computers a few hundred bucks for better equipment - they already have a web-cam trained on the park 24/7. You can monitor the park from Bangladesh if you want to...

Muskoka continues to wrestle with an identity crisis: are we part of the North, the South, or something halfway between? The provincial government considers us part of the North. Various planners feel we're more tied to the South and Toronto's fortunes so why shouldn't we be part of that. And another cadre of planning-types feel we should be some sort of magical Middle Kingdom. This issue to be resolved sometime around 2020. Crested sportswear to follow.

Still got the shirt on your back? Then I guess you haven't run into Robert Harrison, 43, from Dundas, Ontario. Rob went through Muskoka like a whale shark through plankton last summer. When he was finally apprehended the list of who were owed money from bad checks and fraud schemes looked like the membership list from the Chamber of Commerce. [NOTE: When people want to give you free airline tickets to Hawaii if you'll just pay the taxes - it's a scam. My dog knows that...]

With Premier Harris announcing his return to the links the leadership of the provincial PC party is up for grabs. At the moment it looks like our ex MPP Ernie Eves is the frontrunner! So I guess we're not chosing a leader based on charisma, here. Some people speculate Eves may be too old for the job and I thought so too until I read that he was only 55 years old. No offence but from all appearances I swore the guy was at least another decade older. Seeing as Ernie left the House to work with the Credit-Suisse, heir Eves would have to find a riding to run in if he won the leadership. However local MPP Norm Miller (that's LARRY Miller if you're reading the Ads-vance) has already whizzed on every lamp post in town - glorious leader would have to find a new beat.

There are committees afoot to try to block a local construction company from expanding their quarry on Kirk Line. Seems the locals are worried that further excavations at the site, which already contravenes every zoning law in existance, will disrupt the watertable, destroy their ground water, and contaminate their wells. Sorry guys, why do you think they named it Fowler?

Looks like it's going to be a snowy winter. How do I know? Forget the Farmer's Almanac and Wooly Bear Caterpillars - I look at theft reports. This year thefts of snowmobiles are up and someone stole a snowplow from a property near Beatrice Town Line! Brrrr.......

Those of you who still own ATVs ( I say that not because they're obsolete but because they're stolen with amazing regularity around here) might be pleased to know that the Algonquin West ATV Club has been formed and is working on establishing a trail system for all y'all to blaze around on. Don't ya just wish you lived closer to that?

The Ontario Fire College in Gravenhurst is getting a $3 million upgrade. I don't know why - they'll only burn it down again.

If you're crusing along Hwy 60 in Huntsville you may notice that the truck scales there have moved. Why would anyone move a weigh station? Because ClubLink wanted them to, that's why. Those feeling disappointed that the province would just bend over like that can take heart that at least we made ClubLink pay for the move.

Riverfest at Annie Williams Park continues to be the summer festival various local officials love to hate. Some want it moved to the fairgrounds (new name Manurefest) or canned altogether in favour of something more popular - like Dixieland music, suggests one vocal critic. What?! I've never been to Riverfest but if buying a ticket will help keep Dixielanders at bay - count me in!

If you don't mind the possibility of a little Jesus-wheezing thrown in on the side you can drop by the Wellington Street Pentecostal Church on the second Monday of each month and let them go Delilah on you - it's free haircuts for all!

The Crown Group, operators of an automotive supply plant just outside of town, have laid off 21 people citing Sept. 11th as the cause. Not to make light of something gravely serious but do you get the feeling that pretty much anything right now can be attributed to 9/11? Auto plant slowdown - 9/11. No jeans with a 36 waist in stock - 9/11. Chicken doesn't taste like chicken anymore - 9/11. Everyone is quick to parrot that the world changed on Sept. 11th and I agree, it did. But it seems to have gained a universal scapegoat. The first victim of war is always truth...

READ ON (December Edition)

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